Lumière’s Law and Virtual Desktops

As we’re all painfully aware, the pandemic pushed much of the world into an entirely new paradigm of work overnight. So much about the way people now work has changed. Like our locations, the devices we use, how we communicate with our teams, and more. 

As a result, there are entirely new needs and expectations that have been set over the past year with regards to how people access the applications and resources they need to be productive from anywhere. 

People in the end-user computing (EUC) market have been declaring that “this is the year of virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI)!” for many years now (here’s an article from 2010, and they haven’t stopped since). And the pandemic-driven increase in demand for VDI/DaaS in 2020 seemed like it would finally make that statement true. Or at least tee things up so that 2021 would be the tipping-point year for mass adoption.  

But then an issue emerged. VDI and DaaS made sense – fiscally and functionally – when organizations only needed to deploy them for a small percentage of highly-mobile road warriors or power users. But when the pandemic made everyone completely remote overnight, the expense and complexity of deploying VDI/DaaS at scale was too much for many organizations. 

The issue is that for so many years, people have been told that VDI was the future. But now that the future is here, applying VDI as a cure-all doesn’t always make sense based on the actual ways that people need to work. Some people absolutely require a full virtual desktop environment to do their job remotely, and for those people, VDI makes sense. But for most people in your organization, they likely only need access to the business-critical apps that they need to do their job and be productive, in which case VDI is overkill.

Which leads me to Lumière’s Law.

Lumière’s Law

In 1895, brothers Auguste and Louis Lumière introduced their Cinématographe motion picture system and shot the world’s first moving picture. After filming 10 moving pictures, the Lumière brothers began screening them for audiences around the world to gauge the reaction. Ultimately, the Lumières stopped making motion pictures and declared “The cinema is an invention without any future.” 

There’s a fantastic overview of Lumière’s Law in this video from The Loyalty Loop (starting at the 4:30 mark and going to the 9-minute mark or so), but here’s a quick rundown:

Even though they pioneered moving pictures, the Lumière brothers (whose previous business was photography) evaluated everything about the opportunity for moving pictures through the lens (no pun intended) of their extensive experience with photography. Thus, Lumière’s Law refers to our tendency to use previous media or innovations to define a new media – which is a big mistake. When defining a new media, one has to be open to a different mode of consumption for that media. Or, if referring to a general innovation, one must not assume that their new innovation can (or should) be applied to the same situations as innovations of the past. 

So, how does this apply to VDI?

VDI is a technology that has been around for 20+ years, and it was never designed to enable 100 percent of your people to work remotely 100 percent of the time. So it’s not fair to EXPECT it to be ideal for that scenario, because it was a different innovation built for a different time. 

Today, all of our people need access to secure Digital Workspaces so that they can continue to be productive from anywhere, anytime, and on any device. It would be a mistake to apply the current and future demands of remote and hybrid work (the “lens” of the pandemic and post-pandemic reality) to a technology that was built two decades before the current market needs existed. Also, the WAY that people work has changed, and most people don’t need access to a full virtual desktop environment to do their job. 

In this case, Lumière’s Law would refer to people’s tendency to want to use a previous innovation (VDI) to define a new medium – Digital Workspaces – which would be a mistake. 

Virtual Desktops/DaaS does not equal Digital Workspaces. And to be fair, Virtual App Delivery doesn’t equal Digital Workspaces, either. Both are often foundations and/or components of a Digital Workspace, but virtual access to a desktop or virtual access to apps is just part of a broader Digital Workspace mix. 

The Digital Workspace Stack

What that Digital Workspace mix should look like will be different for various organizations, but 2021 will be the year where you’ll see a lot of work done to define a core Digital Workspace “stack.” The goal here is to help organizations easily identify and select the components of the Digital Workspace stack that apply to their particular business needs. 

Stay tuned for a lot more on this topic coming from us (and others) soon. In the meantime, if you have any questions or would like to discuss how Cameyo can help you navigate this stack, please reach out to us here – and feel free to put “Digital Workspace Stack” in the field that asks what information you’re looking for.